According to the Summer 1979 Grapevine, newsletter of the LMDF, the group was set up by “gay women from the Wages for Housework campaign” in 1978 to provide a resource for mothers who were fighting for child custody. They offered pre-legal advice and info on successful cases, referrals to sympathetic lawyers, financial help in building a strong court case, and personal and emotional support. Their aims as stated in the first newsletter were the following:
- To help gay women keep or win custody of their children;
- To promote the rights of lesbian mothers and all gay women through media interviews, political lobbying, and regular contact with women’s and community groups;
- To mobilize support for all lesbian mothers’ struggle against discrimination and economic hardship;
- To speak out about how many thousands of lesbian mothers there are, while putting no pressure on any individual woman to make her name public.
Francie Wyland was the coordinator of LMDF and the author of a book, Motherhood, Lesbianism and Child Custody, which was widely distributed in Canada.
There were similar groups in other major cities in Canada and the US, with catchy names like Dykes with Tykes, Mom’s Apple Pie, and Mommy Queerest. The Toronto group, dependent on volunteers and without government grants, folded in 1987.